The year of dissemblance
UNLESS we take cognisance of the huge role a good political leadership plays in engendering development in its myriad forms, we would possibly despair about politics in our country. In the absence of a breath of fresh air in leadership that we expected in this political dispensation, we are haunted by the realisation that we are back to the days of politics as the backdoor to instant riches, power and fame.
Alas, our political leaders are yet to appreciate the fact that politics is a veritable means of translating the citizens’ dreams into reality. Forget about the propagandist stunt about austere and honest leadership. What we are faced with today under the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is thinly veiled Machiavellian duplicity. And this is what we are all corralled to accept as an unparalled exemplification of integrity.
But we would not. For while the trajectory of the politics of the outgoing year that ushered in our new set of leaders soared on the wings of dissemblance, the citizens have now come to terms with the grim reality that redemption is still far-fetched. While Buhari and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), were campaigning for the presidency, they churned out many promises of what they would do once they were elected into office. But it is now over seven months since they were elected and these promises are still consigned to the province of dreams. The lives of the citizens have not by any means been improved.
From the zenith of grand expectations Buhari and his party hoisted the citizens, they have allowed them to crash to the nadir of despondency. On the trail of their betrayal of the people are poverty, agony and regret. Or how does Buhari expect the people to feel now that it is clear that the improved economy it promised them is a mirage? Where is the N5,000 that Buhari promised to pay each of the millions of unemployed youths? Instead of businesses expanding leaps and bounds as promised by Buhari, they are shrinking, they are sacking workers in their thousands.
No magic wand has been waved by Buhari to make the naira to achieve parity with the dollar. Worse still, the naira is made to shed its remaining value daily. Yet, Buhari promised to stabilise the economy and regain the value the naira has lost within a short time of his emergence as the president. Now, life is getting worse for the citizens, instead of the promised improved existence.
Buhari galvanised the electorate into supporting his presidential bid with the promise that in his fight against corruption, he would know no distinction between friend and foe. He promised to be so committed to the fight against corruption that all stolen funds would be recovered. But the reality now does not lend credence to the propaganda that the anti-corruption fight has been prosecuted to meet the expectations of Nigerians. At first, when Buhari made his promise to jail all corrupt Nigerians, the citizens took him seriously.
But now, the effeteness of the anti-corruption campaign is seen by the alleged return to the country of those who earlier fled, thinking that they would find themselves behind bars with the emergence of Buhari as the president. Lacking the will to disengage from his benefactors who are by no means irreproachable, the president would like us to believe that all his associates and friends are incorruptible while all his political adversaries are irrevocably smeared with the grime of corruption.
As a military general, Nigerians believed Buhari when he declared that he would finally crush the Boko Haram insurgents whom his predecessor was almost trouncing in the twilight of his administration. Confident of his ability to do this, he even boasted that by December 31 this year, Boko Haram might have become history. But as the year ends today, Boko Haram obviously has the last laugh. Between December 25 and now, over 100 lives have been wasted by the insurgents as they struck in Borno and Adamawa states. And this is despite the establishment of the military command on the anti-terror war in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. The Chibok girls are still in the captivity of Boko Haram, contrary to the promise of Buhari to free them in tandem with vanquishing the insurgents before the end of the year.
Nigerians who are not haunted by the insecurity in the northern part of the country have the fuel crisis to contend with. Buhari campaigned at a time there was a crippling fuel crisis in the country. The citizens latched on to the promise of Buhari and his party that they were their solution to their fuel problems. But it is now clear that Buhari and his party do not have the promised answer to the fuel crisis.
The citizens are still subjected to long queues at filling stations. Where fuel is available, the citizens are forced to pay thrice the statutory amount for it. In this regard, the suffering of the citizens is compounded by the inability of Buhari to provide stable electricity supply. The Buhari government has even pandered to the whims and caprices of electricity firms and agreed to increase tariffs. So the citizens would pay more for what may still not be stable.
If Buhari had told Nigerians who voted for him that this is how he would fare by the end of this year, would they still have voted for him? Obviously, most of those who voted for him would not have done that despite their quest for change. Buhari and his party obviously knew this and this was why they resorted to presenting to the citizens a façade and not who they really were.
Of course, some people would argue that in politics, one could make promises that one knows one would not fulfil. But must it be so? Must truth be so scarce in politics? If truth must remain an elusive feature of politics, why does a government expect the citizens to trust it? If it remains the norm in politics that lies must be told, that promises could be freely made during electioneering but be broken after getting into a public office, then the political space in Nigeria remains an exclusive lair of the dilettanti, the debauchees, the desperados , and those who are actuated by the quest to pillage the treasury. In that case, Buhari and APC were ahead of the electorate; they knew that they would not fulfil their promises. And by this they have earned the unenviable record of being the greatest dissemblers of the outgoing year.